EDUCATION AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LIFE CHAPTER 7 'SEX AND MARRIAGE'
LIKE other human problems, the problem of our passions and sexual urges is a complex and difficult one, and if the educator himself has not deeply probed into it and seen its many implications, how can he help those he is educating? If the parent or the teacher is himself caught up in the turmoils of sex, how can he guide the child? Can we help the children if we ourselves do not understand the significance of this whole problem? The manner in which the educator imparts an understanding of sex depends on the state of his own mind; it depends on whether he is gently dispassionate, or consumed by his own desires.
Now, why is sex to most of us a problem, full of confusion and conflict? Why has it become a dominant factor in our lives? One of the main reasons is that we are not creative; and we are not creative because our whole social and moral culture, as well as our educational methods, are based on development of the intellect. The solution to this problem of sex lies in understanding that creation does not occur through the functioning of the intellect. On the contrary, there is creation only when the intellect is still.
The intellect, the mind as such, can only repeat, recollect, it is constantly spinning new words and rearranging old ones; and as most of us feel and experience only through the brain, we live exclusively on words and mechanical repetitions. This is obviously not creation; and since we are uncreative, the only means of creativeness left to us is sex. Sex is of the mind, and that which is of the mind must fulfil itself or there is frustration.
Our thoughts, our lives are bright, arid, hollow, empty; emotionally we are starved, religiously and intellectually we are repetitive, dull; socially, politically and economically we are regimented, controlled. We are not happy people, we are not vital, joyous; at home, in business, at church, at school, we never experience a creative state of being, there is no deep release in our daily thought and action. Caught and held from all sides, naturally sex becomes our only outlet, an experience to be sought again and again because it momentarily offers that state of happiness which comes when there is absence of self. It is not sex that constitutes a problem, but the desire to recapture the state of happiness, to gain and maintain pleasure, whether sexual or any other.
What we are really searching for is this intense passion of self-forgetfulness, this identification with something in which we can lose ourselves completely. Because the self is small, petty and a source of pain, consciously or unconsciously we want to lose ourselves in individual or collective excitement, in lofty thoughts, or in some gross form of sensation.
When we seek to escape from the self, the means of escape are very important, and then they also become painful problems to us. Unless we investigate and understand the hindrances that prevent creative living, which is freedom from self, we shall not understand the problem of sex.
One of the hindrances to creative living is fear, and respectability is a manifestation of that fear. The respectable, the morally bound, are not aware of the full and deep significance of life. They are enclosed between the walls of their own righteousness and cannot see beyond them. Their stained-glass morality, based on ideals and religious beliefs, has nothing to do with reality; and when they take shelter behind it, they are living in the world of their own illusions. In spite of their self-imposed and gratifying morality, the respectable also are in confusion, misery and conflict.
Fear, which is the result of our desire to be secure, makes us conform, imitate and submit to domination, and therefore it prevents creative living. To live creatively is to live in freedom, which is to be without fear; and there can be a state of creativeness only when the mind is not caught up in desire and the gratification of desire. It is only by watching our own hearts and minds with delicate attention that we can unravel the hidden ways of our desire. The more thoughtful and affectionate we are, the less desire dominates the mind. It is only when there is no love that sensation becomes a consuming problem.
To understand this problem of sensation, we shall have to approach it, not from any one direction, but from every side, the educational, the religious, the social and the moral. Sensations have become almost exclusively important to us because we lay such overwhelming emphasis on sensate values.
Through books, through advertisements, through the cinema, and in many other ways, various aspects of sensation are constantly being stressed. The political and religious pageants, the theatre and other forms of amusement, all encourage us to seek stimulation at different levels of our being; and we delight in this encouragement. Sensuality is being developed in every possible way, and at the same time, the ideal of chastity is upheld. A contradiction is thus built up within us; and strangely enough, this very contradiction is stimulating.
It is only when we understand the pursuit of sensation, which is one of the major activities of the mind, that pleasure, excitement and violence cease to be a dominant feature in our lives. It is because we do not love, that sex, the pursuit of sensation, has become a consuming problem. When there is love, there is chastity; but he who tries to be chaste, is not. Virtue comes with freedom, it comes when there is an understanding of what is.
When we are young, we have strong sexual urges, and most of us try to deal with these desires by controlling and disciplining them, because we think that without some kind of restraint we shall become consumingly lustful. Organized religions are much concerned about our sexual morality; but they allow us to perpetrate violence and murder in the name of patriotism, to indulge in envy and crafty ruthlessness, and to pursue power and success. Why should they be so concerned with this particular type of morality, and not attack exploitation, greed and war? Is it not because organized religions, being part of the environment which we have created, depend for their very existence on our fears and hopes, on our envy and separatism? So, in the religious field as in every other, the mind is held in the projections of its own desires.
As long as there is no deep understanding of the whole process of desire, the institution of marriage as it now exists, whether in the East or in the West, cannot provide the answer to the sexual problem. Love is not induced by the signing of a contract, nor is it based on an exchange of gratification, nor on mutual security and comfort. All these things are of the mind, and that is why love occupies so small a place in our lives. Love is not of the mind, it is wholly independent of thought with its cunning calculations, its self-protective demands and reactions. When there is love, sex is never a problem - it is the lack of love that creates the problem.
The hindrances and escapes of the mind constitute the problem, and not sex or any other specific issue; and that is why it is important to understand the mind's process, its attractions and repulsions, its responses to beauty, to ugliness. We should observe ourselves, become aware of how we regard people, how we look at men and women. We should see that the family becomes a centre of separatism and of antisocial activities when it is used as a means of self-perpetuation, for the sake of one's self-importance. Family and property, when centred on the self with its ever-narrowing desires and pursuits, become the instruments of power and domination, a source of conflict between the individual and society.
The difficulty in all these human questions is that we ourselves, the parents and teachers, have become so utterly weary and hopeless, altogether confused and without peace; life weighs heavily upon us, and we want to be comforted, we want to be loved. Being poor and insufficient within ourselves, how can we hope to give the right kind of education to the child?
That is why the major problem is not the pupil, but the educator; our own hearts and minds must be cleansed if we are to be capable of educating others. If the educator himself is confused, crooked, lost in a maze of his own desires, how can he impart wisdom or help to make straight the way of another? But we are not machines to be understood and repaired by experts; we are the result of a long series of influences and accidents, and each one has to unravel and understand for himself the confusion of his own nature.